seminar series

Social Life of Climate Change

Seminar Series

These research seminars are interdisciplinary discussions around contemporary debates in the humanistic social sciences of climate change and the environment. 

Events take multiple formats, including standard seminar format as well as more engaged discussions of relevant readings and works in progress.

The seminars are open to all. If you would like access to any of the upcoming seminars please email

If you'd like to join our mailing list, please sign up here.

The series is co-sponsored by the Department of Geography and Environment, the Department of Sociology and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

It is organised by Dr Kasia Paprocki ( and Dr Austin Zeiderman ( of the Department of Geography and Environment and Dr Rebecca Elliott ( of the Department of Sociology.

Please contact Dr Kasia Paprocki with any questions. Updates can be found on Twitter.

Spring Term 2024

Dr Patrick Bresnihan (Department of Geography at Maynooth University) and Dr Naomi Millner (School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol)
Tuesday 21 May, 2:30-4pm  
MAR 1.08

Book Talk: All We Want is the Earth: Land, Labour and Movements Beyond Environmentalism

This seminar takes the form of a discussion with Patrick Bresnihan and Naomi Millner about their new book, All We Want is the Earth: Land, Labour and Movements Beyond Environmentalism (Bristol University Press 2023), which traces a counter-history of modern environmentalism from the 1960s to the present day. It focuses on claims concerning land, labour and social reproduction arising at important moments in the history of environmentalism made by feminist, anti-colonial, Indigenous, workers’ and agrarian movements. Many of these movements did not consider themselves ‘environmental,’ and yet they offer vital ways forward in the face of escalating ecological damage and social injustice.

Winter Term 2024

Justin Hosbey, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley 
Thursday 8 February, 3-4:30pm  
FAW 9.04 

Angola Prison’s Black Ecologies 

The Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as “Angola Prison,” is the largest maximum-security prison of the United States, and a landscape of overlapping, sedimented injustices. A site of ongoing, horrific human rights abuses, the prison is positioned in the wake of both racial slavery and settler colonialism. The 18,000-acre prison farm is located in West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, two miles from the Louisiana-Mississippi border. This talk integrates spatial analysis, my ongoing ethnographic fieldwork in southern Louisiana, and archival research from the Angolite prison newspaper and other relevant archives to analyze the ways that people incarcerated at Louisiana’s Angola Prison farm experience the damaging effects of anthropogenic climate change. By situating these insights within what Françoise Vergès has named, “the racial capitalocene," this project works to understand the race and class stratified impacts of anthropogenic climate change more fully by asking, “what happens to incarcerated people when carceral landscapes face the climate crisis?” Angola Prison is a critical site for understanding what happens to those considered “les damnés de la terre” in times of environmental catastrophe, and for highlighting their critiques of the carceral state in a time of mounting ecological crisis. 

Leigh Johnson, Department of Geography, University of Oregon 
Friday 8 March, 2-3:30pm  
FAW 9.04 

Digging in the drylands: Labor and landform in nature-based solutions  

Contemporary adaptation initiatives hinge upon the deployment of a remarkable amount of human labor, perhaps nowhere more so than in the implementation of “nature-based solutions” – from planting and maintaining seedlings, to building earthworks and drainage channels, to removing invasive species and clearing debris. By whom this work should be performed, where, and under what conditions, are complicated questions for both project implementers and climate justice advocates. In this talk, I focus on labor performed on pastoral rangelands in dryland East Africa, where hundreds of thousands of soil “bunds” – earthen semi-circles also called “half moons” – have been dug in recent years. These landforms have been championed by NGOs, humanitarian agencies, and local governments as low-tech, easily scalable interventions for rangeland restoration and climate adaptation. Because the creation of bunds at an effective scale requires mobilizing a tremendous amount of demanding manual labor from rural populations, diggers are often paid per bund for their work. I explore how the logic of piece rate work shapes adaptation labor and the landscapes it produces. This case also crystallizes some key questions for adaptation labor markets for other nature-based solutions: How are standardized wage rates constructed? What is the relative value of volunteered versus paid work? How are remunerative adaptation jobs distributed? And most confoundingly, what is the construction of an adaptive landform “worth”, and to whom? 

Past Seminars 


Dr Yolanda Ariadne Collins, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews 
19 October, 3-4.30pm 
Forests of Refuge: Decolonizing Environmental Governance in the Amazonian Guiana Shield 

Jason Cons, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin 
30 November, 3-4.30pm
Amongst Tigers: Sentinel Beasts on a Climate Frontier 

Achieving Justice when Stopping Oil: OFFSHORE Film Screening and Discussion
8 February, 5pm-6.30pm
Discussants: Dr Gisa Weszkalnys (LSE), Associate Professor of Anthropology | Hazel Falck, Independent Filmmaker | Gabrielle Jeliazkov (Platform London), Just Transition Campaigner | Dr Connor Watt (LSE), Post-Doc Anthropology

Nikhil Anand, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania 
8 March, 2pm-3.30pm
Durable Derangements: The Making of Mumbai’s Coastal Road

Summer Gray, Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies Program, University of California, Santa Barbara 
13 March, 4pm-5.15pm
Seawall Entanglements: Contested Futures and the Politics of Staying in Place


Elizabeth Chatterjee, Assistant Professor of Environmental History, University of Chicago
24 October, 4-5:15pm
Late Acceleration: The Early 1970s Climate Shock and Carbon Autocracy in India

Alejandro Camargo, Assistant Professor, Universidad del Norte (Colombia)
7 November, 4-5:15pm
Sedimented stories: Fluvial forces and natural archives in an unstable world

Emma Colven, Assistant Professor of Global Environment, University of Oklahoma
10 May, 2.30pm - 4.00pm
Imagining Urban Futures: Adaptation and the Politics of Possibility in Jakarta 

Hillary Angelo, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz
1 February, 4.00pm - 5.30pm
The Greening Imaginary: From Garden Cities to Climate Justice

Jerry Zee, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and High Meadows Environmental Institute, Princeton University
8 March, 2.30pm - 4pm
Continent in Dust: Experiments in a Chinese Weather System

Jade Sasser, Associate Professor, Gender & Sexuality Studies, University of California, Riverside
22 March, 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Can we Have Reproductive Justice in a Climate Crisis?


Prof Brett Christophers, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University
26 October, 2.00pm - 3.30pm
Taking Renewables to Market: Prospects for the After-Subsidy Energy Transition

Lisa Schipper, Environmental Social Science Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford; Co-Editor-in-Chief, Climate and Development
30 November, 11.00am - 12.30pm
What is climate resilience for all?

Myles Lennon, Dean’s Assistant Professor of Environment and Society & Anthropology, Brown University
16 November, 4.30pm - 6.00pm
Ceasing the Means of Reduction: Toward a New Antiracist Approach to Community Solar Campaigns

Dr Jesse M. Keenan, Tulane University School of Architecture
4 May, 2-3:30pm
The (Applied) Epistemology of Resilience and Adaptation

Dr Hannah Knox, Department of Anthropology, UCL
26 January, 1-2:30pm
Encountering Climate in Models and Materials

Dr Amelia Moore, Department of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island
16 February, 2-3:30pm
At the Island’s Edge: Living and Learning Within Intersectional Ecologies

Dr Debjani Bhattacharyya, Department of History, Drexel University
23 March, 2-3:30pm
Climate Futures’ Past: Insurance, Cyclones and Weather Knowledge in the Indian Ocean World


Professor J. Timmons Roberts, Department of Sociology and Institute at Brown for Environment & Society, Brown University 
13 October, 1-2:30pm, Zoom
The New U.S. Climate Battleground: Actors and Coalitions in the States

Professor James R. Elliott, Department of Sociology, Rice University
10 November, 4-5:30pm, Zoom
Damages Done: The Long-Term Impacts of Rising Disaster Costs on Wealth Inequality

Professor Veronica Strang, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University
1 December, 1-2:30pm, Zoom
Water Beings: From Nature Worship to the Current Environmental Crisis

Professor Lyla Mehta, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK; Visiting Professor, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
June 8 (1-2:30pm U.K. time)
The politics of climate change, uncertainty and transformation in marginal environments

Professor Andrea Nightingale, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo
January 27 (1-2:30pm)
Unruly landscapes of environmental change: imagining a future Himalaya

Professor Miriam Greenberg, Department of Sociology, University of California Santa Cruz
17 February 2020 (1-2:30pm)
The Housing/Habitat Project: Tracing Impacts of the Affordability Crisis in the Wildlands of Exurban California


Dr Gökçe Günel, Department of Anthropology, Rice University 
21 October (6-7:30pm) 
Book Launch: Spaceship in the Desert

Professor Paige West, Department of Anthropology, Barnard College and Columbia University 
4 November (1-2:30pm)
A prayer for the world: Climate change, engaged scholarship and writing the future

Dr Daniel Aldana Cohen, Department of Sociology, University of Pennsylvania
11 November (1-2:30pm)
Follow the Carbon: Housing Movements and Carbon Emissions in the 21st Century City

Dr Andrew Curley, Department of Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2 December (1-2:30pm)
What is a Resource Curse?: Energy, infrastructure, colonialism, and climate change in Native North America

Dr Nayanika Mathur, Department of School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, Oxford
13 May, 1-2:30pm
Crooked Cats: Human-Big Cat Entanglements in the Anthropocene

Dr Jesse Goldstein, Department of Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth University
4 February, 1-2:30pm
From Planetary Improvement to Energy Abolition: Against and beyond the Transparent Energy of Whiteness

Dr Sarah Knuth, Department of Geography, Durham University
4 March, 1-2:30pm
Rentiers of the Green Economy? Placing Rent in Clean Energy Transition

Professor James McCarthy, Graduate School of Geography, Clark University
18 March, 1-2:30pm
Renewing accumulation? Political economies and ecologies of renewable energy


Dr Malini Ranganathan, School of International Service, American University
8 October, 1-2:30pm
From Urban Resilience to Abolitionist Climate Justice in Washington, DC

Professor Elizabeth Shove, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University
12 November, 1-2:30pm
DEMAND: Exploring the dynamics of energy, mobility and demand

Dr Megan Black, Department of International History, LSE
3 December, 1-2:30pm
Divided Legacies of the Landsat Satellite: The Origins of a Climate Science Tool in American Mineral Exploits, 1965-1980

Dr Anne Rademacher, Program in Environmental Studies and Department of Anthropology, New York University
2 May, 4:30-6pm
Building Green: Forging Environmental Futures in Mumbai

Dr Liz Koslov, Comparative Media Studies, MIT
4 June, 4:30-6pm
The Fight for Retreat: Urban Unbuilding in the Era of Climate Change